The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Diet Examination - The All Liquid Clense Myth

I've talked briefly before about cleansing and how it is bull shit...But, I figure I owe it to you guys to explain why when someone does try out these all liquid diet things, why they feel "good" more healthy, and perhaps even lose weight (maybe a little, maybe a lot.) You would think that these people have found the miracle cure, but really its just really basic physiology...or common sense. You be the judge.

First, a very brief history...

"The first uses of liquid diets date back centuries because ancient religious ceremonies often involved fasting, and many cultures served only broth to sick patients. Doctors have been prescribing a liquid diet to patients before they were to undergo surgery for decades. Only in the past few decades have several medically monitored weight loss programs and commercially available weight loss programs become available."

I'll be frank from the very beginning...

No...what I meant was that I'll speak frankly from the top. I think all liquid diets are completely stupid. Regardless of what your physique and fitness goals are, you need to eat as much solid food as your body and schedule will allow. We have teeth and the digestive capacity to eat and break down food for a reason. There are many a fitness type that gets nearly all of their food from liquid, shake sources, something that I only recommend to those who just do not have the appetite to handle enough solid food to hit their calorie goals to GAIN weight. If you're trying to lose weight, you need to get ALL of your calories from solid sources. But, I know that some of you will try and go about these liquid diets due to someones reccomendation or some stupid advertising that sells you the keys to success, so I will go through these and help you make up your mind with some additional information.

Popular Liquid Diets

Now, there are two different types of liquid diets in my opinion. The ones that are meant to be a meal replacement and contain the majority of the macro nutrients in a balanced fashion, or the purely liquid, flavored carb water or just micro nutrient (liquid vitamin) dense concoction. The earliest liquid diet that I can remember from my childhood is the classic Slim Fast diet.

Papa Slim Fast


"Slim-Fast was originally just a diet shake product line. It consisted of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes meant to replace breakfast and lunch.

In late 2009, Slim-Fast simplified its product line with the "3-2-1" diet plan. The plan emphasized three 100-calorie snacks, two 200-calorie meal replacements (shakes or meal bars) and one dinner. Slim Fast's product line now only consists of 3-2-1 products and no longer sells Optima, Original, Low-Carb, or Easy-to-Digest brands."

The basic principle behind slim fast is simply taking out options. You no longer have to guess if your lunch or breakfast fit in your diet, you can just replace two of your meals with their shakes, try to avoid going super crazy on your dinner (or use a meal replacement bar or other low calorie commercially produced meal options) and you will more than likely be in a calorie deficit. Thus, causing weight loss. Of the three diets I will discuss today, this is by far the only one that isn't completely ridiculous. And, although I don't think this is the most enjoyable or beneficial diet to undertake, It's been studied and is safe to follow a diet protocol of this sort.

"There was no evidence to suggest micronutrient deficiency in subjects on any of the dietary regimens."

The Master Cleanse Liquid Diet

  • The master cleanse liquid diet has been one that became popular over the last several years. It involves drinking a mix of water, lemon, honey and a little bit of red hot pepper. It is a diet program that is recommended for 10 or more days. It claims to detoxify the body as well as promote weight loss. Many people can't adhere to the diet since they are supposed to give up eating food completely for that long. The upside of the master cleanse diet is that it cost only a few dollars.

Read more :

The Master Cleanse Liquid Diet


"The Master Cleanse is a Juice Fast. It’s a liquid diet that provides a healthy amount of calories and nutrients specifically suited for weight loss and cleansing, all while resting the digestive system and allowing the body to heal naturally.

The Three Steps:

Ease-In: 3 Days of Slowly removing processed foods from your diet.
The Lemonade Diet: 10 Days to Lose Weight Fast, and Feel Great At Last
Ease-Out: 3 Days of slowly eating more and more complex foods.

What's in the Lemonade?

2 Tablespoons lemon or limejuice (approx. ½ lemon)
2 Tablespoons genuine maple syrup (Not maple flavored sugar syrup)
1/10 Teaspoon cayenne pepper (red pepper) or to taste
8 oz water, room temperature
Combine the juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pep
per in a 10 oz glass jar w/lid and fill with the water.
Shake it up and drink. (Cold water may be used if preferred.)
Use fresh (organic) lemons or limes only, never canned lemon or limejuice nor frozen lemonade or
frozen juice."

Because no other food or drink is to be consumed during the lemonade fast, you're more or less just starving yourself and utilizing diet induced thermogenesis via the addition of Chili powder in this concoction where the only thing giving you energy is carbs in the form of 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

This diet is completely ridiculous. It saw a huge surge in popularity in 2006 when Beyoncé used it as a trick to lose 20lbs for Dream Girls.

Since when did we start taking diet advice from actors and entertainers? If we all wanted to lose weight, why don't we just hop on the Christian Bale "The Machinist" Diet??

Sounds ridiculous? It's because it is. Actors and performers do drastic things to get QUICK results that are more than often not very safe, but they can afford the supervision required to insure they will be okay. Both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway did very aggressive water deprivation diets to get into the kinds of compositions required of their characters. They didn't do this so that they can look cute on the beach, they did it so they looked like sucked up skeletons to better the story.

People like to try the Master Cleanse, hopping on the most extreme of circumstances, when following Beyonce's diet to lose her pregnancy weight (although still not ideal) would be just as effective and much more satieting and safe.

"This particular diet is very rich in protein, like most good diets in vogue today.  You start the day with egg whites, consume slices of turkey with capers for lunch, eat cucumbers with vinegar and lemon for snacks, and finish the day with yellowtail sashimi with jalapeños and wasabi. Sometimes you are allowed to have frozen yogurt."

The Master Cleanse Liquid Diet

  • The master cleanse liquid diet has been one that became popular over the last several years. It involves drinking a mix of water, lemon, honey and a little bit of red hot pepper. It is a diet program that is recommended for 10 or more days. It claims to detoxify the body as well as promote weight loss. Many people can't adhere to the diet since they are supposed to give up eating food completely for that long. The upside of the master cleanse diet is that it cost only a few dollars.

Read more :

Fat Sick, and Nearly Dead.


"100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn't end well- with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn't far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe's personal mission to regain his health. With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long-term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body's ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle. While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, it's at a truck stop in Arizona where Joe meets a truck driver who suffers from the same rare condition. Phil Staples is morbidly obese weighing in at 429 lbs; a cheeseburger away from a heart-attack. As Joe is recovering his health, Phil begins his own epic journey to get well. What emerges is nothing short of amazing - an inspiring tale of healing and human connection. Part road trip, part self-help manifesto, FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD defies the traditional documentary format to present an unconventional and uplifting story of two men from different worlds who each realize that the only person who can save them is themselves." - IMDB

Joe has five different juice recipes listed on his website including Joe's Mean Green, Low Sugar Green Juice, Ease Your Joints Juice, Morning Green Glory, and The Warrior Princess. He also has another website where he has more recipes that include more solid food options.

I saw this movie around January, and I was honestly very impressed and moved at this man's passion for changing his life for the better. I can't say that I agree with these kind of drastic measures when it comes to weight loss for anyone. It obviously allowed him to lose lots of weight and take control over his health, but a similar result could have been achieved with just a calorie deficit, regular exercise, and a diet filled with micro AND all the macro nutrients as well as an understanding of how to achieve the next level of their physique.

I'm also not in love with how much this juicing thing has become a business. Special blenders, websites, adds, money out the ass. BUT, at the same time, Joe Cross seems very genuine and does seem to want the best for people, and he's decided that this is the means to do so. Good on' em.

How These Diets Work:

Losing weight is as simple as burning more calories than you ingest. The difficulty behind dieting is the mental and chemical barriers that make us want to give up. In this case the flesh is strong but the will is weak. A human being is capable of losing insane amounts of body fat with calorie restriction alone, regardless of what makes up those calories. Even complete and total starvation is possible...

"Back in June of 1965, a Scotsman weighing 207 kilograms, described as "grossly obese" and hereafter known only as Mr A B, turned up at the Department of Medicine at the Royal Infirmary in Dundee.

He was sick of being fat and wanted to lose weight by eating nothing and living off his body fat. He told the hospital staff he was going to fast flat out, whatever they said, so they may as well monitor him along the way.

He ended up fasting for one year and 17 days — that's right, he ate no food at all for over a year. He lived entirely off his copious body fat, in the end losing about 125 kilograms of weight."

That being said, no one should attempt this without complete and total medical supervision, it's completely unnecessary and extremely dangerous. Several people have died due to other health complications under similar scenarios.

Anybody who is willing to put themselves through one of these diets WILL see weight loss results. That's what happens when you starve your body, it eats itself. There is nothing special about these diets, they work because you're in a crazy calorie deficit and your basic physical activity required of you will burn through your muscle glycogen, water and fat stores. 

The Detoxing Myth


People have been sold this idea that everything that we do in today's society is putting them in the grave. Whether it's the way you sit, the way you shit, the air you breath, or the food you put in your mouth, people are convinced we are walking in clouds of toxins and chemicals that give us cancer. I'm not gonna sit here and argue about this. I can't disprove it, and it doesn't serve me to try. However, this concept that our body doesn't know how to deal with "toxins" is just bull shit.

"Detoxing is nonsense,’ says BDA spokesperson Rick Miller. ‘It’s a complete fallacy that the body needs to detox. Removal of waste products and toxins is a continuous process and we don’t need to periodically flush them out. The body does a perfectly good job of eliminating any substances on its own.

Miller says detoxing has its origins in the early 20th century, with autointoxication theory – the idea that disease was caused by waste products building up in the body. ‘This was debunked in the 1930s but the term seems to have prevailed and it keeps cropping up,’ he says. ‘In a medical sense, the term detoxing describes treatments administered to patients to minimise withdrawal from drug or alcohol addiction.

Detoxes are based on the idea that stored toxic substances can be removed by eating or avoiding certain foods. The most popular detoxes tend to involve drinking ‘cleansing’ fruit and vegetable juice. These regimes cut out meat, caffeine and processed foods."

However, regardless of scientific evidence, the juicing camp only has to present copious amounts of anecdote to keep their zealots going. Everybody knows that person that went on a juice fast, lost weight, and now their skin is radiant and they feel a million times better.

Okay, let's address this...

More than likely if a person does feel like these miracle type symptoms, it's either 

A.) A Placebo.


B.) The introduction of sufficient micro nutrient intake and/or the removal of excess calories.

The power of the mind is an incredible thing, and when situations are extreme, the mind can certainly help a person rationalize newer sensations. The placebo effect is highly effective in terms of medical treatment. And with a decrease in excess calories is the obvious weight loss, the removal of bloat, sluggishness, the feeling of being sick after eating, a whole swarm of digestive and bathroom issues, and all the health complications that come with over eating for a long time and being over weight. Combine that with actually hitting their daily micro nutrient needs, you have a recipe for someone to stop living in dietary ignorance and start feeling like an actual living, breathing human being.


Not sustainable

Although some of these diets do offer something resembling an exit strategy, meaning you return to eating "normally," the diet and the weight you lost with this diet is not at all sustainable. In fact the majority of people have reported gaining back all the weight they lost on said liquid diets. I can imagine that one good cheat meal could do the trick, especially if an individual was juice fasting and the first thing they delve into when off of this whacked out water diet is a sodium and sugar bomb in the form of a pepperoni pizza.

No true concept of nutrition post liquid diet.

This is when the marketing comes in. Once you've stopped participating in the diet and you begin to gain weight, you start to blame the foods you're consuming (as if water, cayenne pepper, lemon, and maple syrup had some form of miracle fat burning qualities other than hypothetical minute metabolic acceleration.) The thing is that if you think that these drinks are the only way you can successfully lose weight and that any time you eat solid calories you are cursed to put on pounds and pounds of fat, you are doing yourself an insane disservice.

Not Ideal Body Composition Results

In my personal opinion, a diet should have the ability to make you the most sexy version of yourself possible. If you're willing to put in the effort and commit to a diet, you should be able to come out the other end looking amazing. I'm not necessarily talking about body building contest shredded, but certainly Photo shoot ready. Most people who commit to a juice diet who are on the upper end of weight loss end up with a body composition that is not ideal...IMO, the larger folk tend to just look what many people call "skinny fat."Meaning that they are skinny around the limbs, but still hold a lot of fat around their mid section.

I don't think everyone needs to chase the muscle bound dream, but having strength and physical capabilities isn't just about lookin real fuckin sexy, it's about having the ability to live a hearty, healthy, active life. Which brings me to my final point...


The Real Cost of Liquid Fast Diets: Muscle Loss

Any diet that has you removing the king (in my opinion) of macro nutrients (Papa Protein), you're gambling with the very thing that has the ability to make your life have any form of quality: Muscle. And I'm not just talking about "oooo, look, big muscles, lift heavy weight, curls for the girls, tryin to get rippling cans of coke for abs!" No, I'm talking about the very basis of having an enjoyable, interesting life where you can do things like go hiking, play a casual game of basketball, football, HELL, wiffle ball, not get completely exhausted every time you get up off of the couch, or to pick up your little brother, your child, your grandchild. AND, less muscle means less metabolic out put, meaning that your body will require little to no food to preserve it's size, which means anything above your basic metabolic rate is going straight to fat city. I don't care how skinny you want to be, if you have no muscle, anytime you cave and eat a bunch of food, it's going to hoard as fat.

Muscle is very costly to the body. Meaning, in times of starvation, our bodies look to remove parts of us that demand the most of us. Meaning fat AND Muscle. Muscle being the much more energetically expensive of the two. Your body has no qualms about eating it's muscle to sustain itself. None whatsoever, especially if you're not regularly giving it stimuli to indicate that it NEEDS that muscle for survival (i.e. weight training, mutha fuckin deadlifts!)



These diets aren't fun, aren't sustainable, or effective. In fact, I personally think they are more dangerous than helpful. Or at the very least, the negatives outweigh the temporary and fleeting positives.

In my opinon, if you want to lose weight, do it correctly from the beginning with an understanding of how food works in your body...not college level stuff, just what is a carb, fat, protein, and a micro nutrient and how it affects your body composition and health. You don't need to enroll in a science class, an evening on google will do the trick. Although I do feel that sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures...some measures are just not that desperate, nor do they ever need to be.

Until next time, put that God damned mug of weird juice down, and as always...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing it.

The Opera Bro


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